An Australian film starring Eric Bana as the infamous Real Life
Melbourne criminal Mark 'Chopper' Read.
The film portrays a portion of Read's storied life, beginning and ending in prison. The film begins with the incidents leading up to his famous self-mutilation, in which he had his ears chopped off in order to escape retaliation from a rival. Read is shown to be a violent and unbalanced man with a forceful and often gregarious personality. After serving his term, Read proves unfit for the outside world soon lands back in prison, where he can take only fleeting comfort in the tabloid fame that his antics and charm have brought him.
The film was a success in Australia and received some global recognition as well. The film launched Bana into mainstream success as a movie star after a career primarily limited to the Australian comedy scene.
This film provides examples of:
- Affably Evil: Chopper is a two-bit thug, but he's incredibly charming when he's not killing you, and sometimes even when he is. This is Truth in Television, as Chopper became a mainstream celebrity in Australia by telling stories from his sordid life.
- All Is Well That Ends Well: Parodied with Chopper's bizarrely philosophical reaction to being stabbed. Justified in that he's talking to cops, so it's Honor Among Thieves.
Chopper: Look. The bloke's been me best mate since 1975. We've had our fallouts from time to time, it's no big deal. Y'know, it's like...if your mum stabs ya, whaddya do? Ya don't get upset. Ya don't get angry, ya go, "Shit, mum's stabbed me, I better get off to the hospital."
- Anti-Hero: Chopper thinks he is one of these, specifically a Type IV with a strong flavour of Lovable Rogue. The film plays on the dissonance between Chopper's idea of himself and how he actually behaves - see below.
- Arch-Enemy: Subverted and played for very dark laughs in the case of Chopper and Keith.
Jimmy: Why do you hate him so much?
Chopper: I don't hate him. I don't hate anyone.
Jimmy: Well, why have we been fighting him for three fuckin' years, then?
Chopper: (thinks for a moment) I dunno.
Jimmy: Well, maybe we should have a reason.
Chopper: Well, make one up.
- Berserker Tears: Chopper has these right after attacking Keith.
- Boom, Headshot: Chopper gives one to "The Turk" via a small shotgun. Amazingly "The Turk" manages to walk several feet before collapsing.
- Character Title
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Chopper over Tanya.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Chopper gives a truly horrible one of these to Keith.
- Dissonant Serenity: An extremely disturbing example, when Jimmy stabs Chopper. At first, Chopper doesn't even notice that it's happened. Then he doesn't understand why Jimmy's done it. Then, when he does figure out what's got into Jimmy, he tries to give him a forgiving hug. When even that doesn't work, and Jimmy finally backs away with Oh Crap written all over his face and suggests that it might be a good idea for Chopper to lie down, Chopper calmly replies "What for?"
- Foe Cooties: Chopper gets it into his head that Tanya has been having sex with his enemy Neville Bartos
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Chopper is unbalanced and a danger to everyone around him, even people he's being friendly towards. Mostly because the people in his social circle are all petty criminals and lowlifes and he is paranoid that they're all trying to kill him.
- I Shall Taunt You: Chopper tries to provoke a fellow prisoner into attacking him, so that he can defeat him and become the division's Badass In Charge.
Keith: Fuckin' blow-fly.
Chopper: Aw, Keith. I always thought I was a good bloke.
Keith: What did you ever do that was good?
Chopper: Well, I bashed you. That was good, wasn't it? Well, it was good for a bit of a giggle, anyway. Eh, Keithy?
- Major Injury Underreaction: Chopper barely reacts to being shanked several times because he is too busy trying to make the man shanking him see reason.
- Mood Lighting / Color Wash: Loads: Unnatural blue (prison), sickly green (Chopper's dad's kitchen; Neville's garage), lurid orange (Bojangles' parking lot), heart-pounding red (Tanya's room; Neville's TV room), and comforting beige (Tanya's mom's house).
- Refuge in Audacity: Chopper shoots a man in a parking lot and immediately goes to the police and admits to the crime, even showing them the murder weapon. They don't buy it because they think Chopper is doing his normal bullshit artist routine.
- Tattooed Crook: Truth in Television
- Unreliable Expositor: Chopper claims to have killed 19 people, yet has only been tried for one murder, of which he was acquitted.
- Villain Protagonist: Chopper.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: When Chopper takes off his shirt and vest after being stabbed, Bluey has one of these. Word Of God says that the actor, Dan Wyllie, was such a professional that he threw up, for real, on cue.
- Would Hit a Girl: Chopper. Twice.